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Subject: "Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points Fil..." Previous topic | Next topic
AutumnInNewYork Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Jul 2013Mon 23-Dec-13 03:41 AM
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"Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points Fill the Frame?"


US
          

I currently own the D800 and have been using it exclusively for bird photography though most people would agree it's more suitable for studio and landscape photography.

I want to get a second camera as a back up, but the D4 is beyond my reach at this time. Frankly I need faster focus acquisition for quickly getting flitting warblers and other fast moving birds in focus. This is the only Nikon camera that I know where the focus points fill up the entire screen.

Note I use the new 80-400 G lens.

Would the D7100 achieve what I want it to? Or should I save my money for the D4?

Thanks.

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points...
jetkins Silver Member
23rd Dec 2013
1
Reply message RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points...
km6xz Moderator
23rd Dec 2013
2
Reply message RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points...
AutumnInNewYork Gold Member
23rd Dec 2013
3
     Reply message RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points...
km6xz Moderator
23rd Dec 2013
4
          Reply message RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points...
jetkins Silver Member
24th Dec 2013
5
          Reply message RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points...
AutumnInNewYork Gold Member
24th Dec 2013
6
Reply message RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points...
Alan_Russell
24th Dec 2013
7
Reply message RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points...
AutumnInNewYork Gold Member
24th Dec 2013
8
     Reply message RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points...
km6xz Moderator
25th Dec 2013
9
          Reply message RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points...
AutumnInNewYork Gold Member
25th Dec 2013
10
          Reply message RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points...
AutumnInNewYork Gold Member
26th Dec 2013
11
               Reply message RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points...
jbloom Gold Member
26th Dec 2013
12

jetkins Silver Member Nikonian since 25th Nov 2011Mon 23-Dec-13 05:59 AM
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#1. "RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points Fill the Frame?"
In response to Reply # 0


Austin, TX, US
          

The focus points do not fill the entire frame on the D7100, but they do fill the reduced sensor area that is used if you select the 1.3x crop mode. However, if you're having trouble following fast-moving birds in the full frame, you're going to have an even harder time keeping them within the bounds of that reduced area.

  

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km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Mon 23-Dec-13 02:20 PM
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#2. "RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points Fill the Frame?"
In response to Reply # 0


St Petersburg, RU
          

I would suggest borrowing or renting a D4 before making any decision. The reason is that even a D4 or any camera made can struggle with small quick birds because they are soaring against open skies but usually staying in the protection of messy similar colored backgrounds that make them harder to see by preditor birds. That is probably the worst combination of traits for a focus target. If the D800 is missing most of the time so will a D4 if using the same techniques.
The skills required for a high keeper rate with small birds are not trivial.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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AutumnInNewYork Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Jul 2013Mon 23-Dec-13 02:26 PM
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#3. "RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points Fill the Frame?"
In response to Reply # 2


US
          

Hello Stan,

Please explain exactly what those required skills are for maintaining a high keeper rate for flitting warblers in foliage.

Thank you.

Sol

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km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Mon 23-Dec-13 03:42 PM
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#4. "RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points Fill the Frame?"
In response to Reply # 3
Mon 23-Dec-13 03:47 PM by km6xz

St Petersburg, RU
          

I am probably not the expert since I have a heck of a time also but we have an active forum here of avid bird shooters:
http://www.nikonians.org/forums/dcboard.php?az=show_topics&forum=161

Successful wildlife shooters spend a lot of time improving field craft, getting to know the habits and responses in various situations their target displays. The birds are trying to be hard to track, you or an eagle are both considered the same enemy and threat. Sports shooting is similar, those who learn the intimate details of player behavior beat out the guys with fancier gear who doesn't.

I shoot a lot of ballet and spend time learning the performance by attending rehearsals and having been to many many ballets. It definitely gets easier when anticipation works more of the time instead of relying on camera AF or reaction time. I never shoot burst but seldom fail to get peaks of lifts because I know exactly when they are going to occur. For most who do not follow it, don't know the choreography, it is a matter of luck to get good shots and have little to do with gear because of reacting to the target instead of anticipating the actions always works better.
That is one reason those who specialize in one species of bird or animal, have better "luck".
One way to negate the interference of a confusing background, one that the bird seeks out for camouflage, is to not AF at all. If you are using feeding behaviors as your target you can learn the heading habits and pre-focus on a predicted spot in Manual Focus mode and if setting the DOF deep enough to allow for some error in anticipation you do not have to worry about the background capturing the AF.
Trap focusing works well for feeder targets, set the camera to Focus Priority, single point(center focus point) and pre-focus on the spot, hold down the shutter( MF so it does not try to focus with 1/2 press) and when the bird is determined by the camera to be in focus, the shutter releases.
If you are shooting free flight birds, and they are small against a crowded camouflage background or worse within a thicket, waiting until the resume a habit behavior you can anticipate is probably going to get a higher keeper rate than shooting very low probability shots randomly.
Another assist in getting closer to small birds, if they are in your normal shooting area is just being around them and not appearing to be a threat for repeated exposures to you. Don't look at them with open uncovered eyes, all animals, including human, are very sensitive to eyes. It is an evolved trait that helped with survival.
Good luck Sol!
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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jetkins Silver Member Nikonian since 25th Nov 2011Tue 24-Dec-13 04:25 AM
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#5. "RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points Fill the Frame?"
In response to Reply # 4


Austin, TX, US
          

I don't believe trap focusing works on the D7100 - it might work with manual focus but I know it doesn't work using rear-button focus.

  

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AutumnInNewYork Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Jul 2013Tue 24-Dec-13 04:52 AM
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#6. "RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points Fill the Frame?"
In response to Reply # 4


US
          

>Successful wildlife shooters spend a lot of time improving
>field craft, getting to know the habits and responses in
>various situations their target displays. The birds are trying
>to be hard to track, you or an eagle are both considered the
>same enemy and threat. Sports shooting is similar, those who
>learn the intimate details of player behavior beat out the
>guys with fancier gear who doesn't.
>
>I shoot a lot of ballet and spend time learning the
>performance by attending rehearsals and having been to many
>many ballets. It definitely gets easier when anticipation
>works more of the time instead of relying on camera AF or
>reaction time. I never shoot burst but seldom fail to get
>peaks of lifts because I know exactly when they are going to
>occur. For most who do not follow it, don't know the
>choreography, it is a matter of luck to get good shots and
>have little to do with gear because of reacting to the target
>instead of anticipating the actions always works better.
>That is one reason those who specialize in one species of bird
>or animal, have better "luck".
>One way to negate the interference of a confusing background,
>one that the bird seeks out for camouflage, is to not AF at
>all. If you are using feeding behaviors as your target you can
>learn the heading habits and pre-focus on a predicted spot in
>Manual Focus mode and if setting the DOF deep enough to allow
>for some error in anticipation you do not have to worry about
>the background capturing the AF.
>Trap focusing works well for feeder targets, set the camera to
>Focus Priority, single point(center focus point) and pre-focus
>on the spot, hold down the shutter( MF so it does not try to
>focus with 1/2 press) and when the bird is determined by the
>camera to be in focus, the shutter releases.
>If you are shooting free flight birds, and they are small
>against a crowded camouflage background or worse within a
>thicket, waiting until the resume a habit behavior you can
>anticipate is probably going to get a higher keeper rate than
>shooting very low probability shots randomly.
>Another assist in getting closer to small birds, if they are
>in your normal shooting area is just being around them and not
>appearing to be a threat for repeated exposures to you. Don't
>look at them with open uncovered eyes, all animals, including
>human, are very sensitive to eyes. It is an evolved trait that
>helped with survival.

Excellent advice, Stan, and all of which I not only concur with, but also practice. It is with this experience that I am trying to increase my keeper rate from a present dismal ~45% where my D800 is not getting the higher tack sharp rate that I want to achieve. It is for this reason that I am probably going to rent a D7100 and D4 to see how much quicker I will be able to lock on my fast moving subject.
Don't get me wrong, I love my D800, but that's the only digital camera I've ever owned. The new Sony A7 with its evolved focusing system looks promising, but the system is too young and lacks the important 400mm lens that I require. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Alan_Russell Registered since 11th Dec 2013Tue 24-Dec-13 04:29 PM
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#7. "RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points Fill the Frame?"
In response to Reply # 0


Lake Worth, US
          

I bought the D7100 for bird photography last week. I currently own 3 bodies: D7100, D2XS and D300. All of these cameras are superb for Bird photography with expertise with birds in flight. I am awaiting ny D800E today, should be here within the hour. So, I'll be playing around with the new addition. I exclusively use the Nikon 8o-400mm VR original Tele. There was no need to purchase the newer version, I get great results with this lens. (VR off) Never use TC's and I handheld all of my shots.
As far as the D7100 focus goes, it is spot on. I do rotate AF-C and
AF-S many times in the field. I've gotten use to this push button learning curve. I will run a few focus tests with the D800E. I do expect great results. BTW, I have a league of FX and DX lenses to accompany both bodies and I thank Wall Street for making it all possible. <grin>

http://500px.com/arussberg

Alan Russell

  

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AutumnInNewYork Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Jul 2013Tue 24-Dec-13 05:06 PM
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#8. "RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points Fill the Frame?"
In response to Reply # 7


US
          

This is exciting news--2 Nikon bodies in 1 week!

Please let us know how the D7100 performs certainly compared to the D800E. I'm most interested in the percentage of keepers you get with each.

Happy Holidays.

Sol

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km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Wed 25-Dec-13 03:06 PM
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#9. "RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points Fill the Frame?"
In response to Reply # 8


St Petersburg, RU
          

I did know the crippled the trap focusing. That is my only disappointment with my D800. I do not have a D7100 but use trap with my D7000.
How far from the birds are you? Their speed is not the problem but their movement across an arc, if you are close enough for detailed shots, is a problem. The closer you are the harder for the af or you to track how many degrees of movement arc per second is the predictor of keeper rate. A fly is slow in speed but we only see them close so they can move through as arc of 180 degrees in 1/4 second when flying 10 miles per hour. A jet fighter might move 45 degrees og arc in a second while flying 800mph so is much easier to AF.
This where fieldcraft comes in. Where the bird be most predictably less eradic and still be within range of a 400 mm lens.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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AutumnInNewYork Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Jul 2013Wed 25-Dec-13 03:26 PM
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#10. "RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points Fill the Frame?"
In response to Reply # 9


US
          

"How far from the birds are you? Their speed is not the problem but their movement across an arc, if you are close enough for detailed shots, is a problem. The closer you are the harder for the af or you to track how many degrees of movement arc per second is the predictor of keeper rate."

Then this is my problem. I get very close to the bird or try to at least. At times I can fill 50 to 75 per cent of the frame (on larger birds) and this I accomplish by anticipating where they are likely to be after watching their behavior. On smaller birds perhaps 20 to 25 per cent of the frame.

Do you think 3D focusing would be helpful?

Thanks again & Happy Holiday.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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AutumnInNewYork Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Jul 2013Thu 26-Dec-13 03:39 AM
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#11. "RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points Fill the Frame?"
In response to Reply # 9


US
          

I've decided to rent the D7100 for one week to test it out myself.

I've never rented before. Any recommendation from which company I should consider renting?

Thanks.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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jbloom Gold Member Awarded for the continuous and generous sharing of his high level expertise and his always encouraging comments in several forums. Nikonian since 15th Jul 2004Thu 26-Dec-13 01:00 PM
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#12. "RE: Is the D7100 the Fastest Focus Because Focus Points Fill the Frame?"
In response to Reply # 11
Thu 26-Dec-13 01:01 PM by jbloom

Wethersfield, US
          

I've never rented a camera body, but I've had good experiences renting lenses from both lensrentals.com and borrowlenses.com which, despite their names, rent camera bodies as well. The latter gives a 5% discount to Nikonians Silver and above members.

-- Jon
Wethersfield, CT, USA
Connecticut High School Sports Photos

  

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